The Realness Of Unperceived Objects Essay

1030 words - 5 pages

W.T. Stace uses his paper “The Refutation of Realism” to argue that we have no good reason to believe in the existence of objects unperceived by any finite mind. His argument reflects one of exhaustion, in which he claims that the only two ways to argue for the existence of these unperceived objects, is either by inductive or deductive methods. Because both of these fail, we have no way to provide good reason for the belief that objects exist while unperceived. In this paper I will explain why Stace’s argument fails, more specifically his approach to inductive reasoning. In doing so, I will also dispute Stace’s proposed thesis that the only things that exist are minds and sense data; his ...view middle of the document...

(2) If material objects exist, that would best explain why objects exist unperceived. (3) Therefore, material objects exist. We get this claim of material objects in direct opposition to Stace who denies their existence with his claim that “the only things that exist are minds and sense data.”
Allow me to illustrate the two options when considering unperceived objects. The first world would involve material objects that are completely independent of us. We perceive them using our senses when in proximity. While unperceived, they continue to exist just as before. For example, I know that I have a car that takes me to work everyday. Because that car is a material object, I know that when I leave it parked in my garage it stays there. I know this because every morning, my car is exactly where I left it. Similarly, I know that I am using a computer right at this very moment. However, I cannot perceive the inner workings of this computer. Based on the nature of a computer—that they need certain inner mechanisms to work properly—I know that these unperceived inner workings do, in fact, exist because they are material objects. If the only things that exist were sense data, my computer would not be functioning since I do not perceive what is inside of it. Because these things are material objects, my perception of them does not play a role on whether or not they exist.
The second option is that what we perceive is sense data and as soon as no finite mind perceives it, it no longer exists. To paint a picture, as soon as we walk out of a room everything we just perceived (the chairs, desks, board, etc.) disappear ad cease to exist altogether. As soon as we return, they exist again. Or to use the car example from above, as soon as we leave the garage, the car no longer exists. This is puzzling because it contradicts Stace’s claim that sense data is not mind dependent. If sense data were independent of us,...

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